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Music Daze: The (Isle of Wight) Album p. 5 Sunday: Prelude

This is the fifth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part and FOURTH part

The Isle of Wight Festival 2016 and the day of Queen + Adam Lambert performance, Sunday.

The holy day we all waited for! Queen + Adam Lambert was scheduled to end the festival on the Main Stage that night. This time we arrived early, at about 11:00. The weather was cold and we were prepared for a long, rainy day, as it had been forecasted all week.

We had planned this day a long time ago, as my friends had something called “Premium VIP” tickets, and they had invited me. That was a hublackstar barge deal for me, as we were about to get provided with an “exclusive” view of the Main Stage, a bar serving drinks all day, meals, and a shelter in case the weather was too bad.

It was such a treat for me. For only this day, we had a new black wristband for the bar, which was called “Blackstar” in honor to David Bowie’s last álbum. It was a pub installed on a second floor at one side of the big open area where the Main Stage was. Inside, it was all about David Bowie: it had lots of big pictures and paintings of different Bowie’s eras on the wall. It had rest areas, sofas, cushions, and of course, the open bar where pretty ladies were serving drinks on demand. You could drink all you wanted during the whole day.

 

It was a little paradise. Then, with a drink in your hand, you could go outside to a balcony and get a perfect view of all the acts performing on the Main Stage.

The Entrance

The Entrance

Even at the entrance, people treated you differently. You went inside from a special “VIP parking entrance” which was just behind the Main Stage, and security guys acted all nice to us once they saw our wristbands. The long walks across the Seaclose park to get to the Main Stage were all over for today! While we were walking there, I could see the back of the Main Stage, where roadies were still working installing equipment for the upcoming bands, and I saw the Queen & Adam Lambert Trucks parked there. Those were the trucks used to transport all the gear and equipment for Queen’s summer tour across Europe, and they had a blue truck company logo and the Queen + Adam Lambert On Tour words marked on the sides. It was very exciting for me.

I also saw a building on the side that wasn’t accesible to the audience: it had signs marked as “backstage and wardrobe”, So, I imagined that it was the site where all the bands hung out and got ready for the performances that day. I didn’t see anyone “famous” at that time, though.

 

 

Main Stage Sunday morning

Main Stage Sunday morning

Anyway, for a normal day, it was way too early to start drinking. But this wasn’t a normal day. So we started to help ourselves getting drinks and I got many margaritas, rum cola, cider, and beer. And that was before lunch time (I’m a drunk ok?).

Inside the bar, there were a couple of ladies painting faces so that you could pretend that you were a “jolly hippie at Woodstock”. I didn’t have the courage to paint my face (I probably needed more drinks for that) but I had enough drinks to get a big “Queen + Adam Lambert” painting on my arm that looked just like a tattoo.

Then just like that, from the balcony of the Blackstar Bar, we saw the performances of The Orders, The High Kings (nice ireland folk music!), Twin Atlantic, Half Moon Run and Mike + The Mechanics. Paying them attention from time to time, as (once again) I didn’t know most of this day’s acts.

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

The day was passing, and I wanted to go as close to the stage as possible, just like the day before, and hopefully get in a similar spot, near the fence, just like we had watched Iggy Pop and The Who.

So, before trying to go there and spend the rest of the day waiting inside the huge crowd, we decided to go and take a walk for the last time to see this big park and all its carnival games. We caught a troubador singing on one of the stages that reminded me a lot of the “trova” movement in South America. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch his name but he reminded me a lot of the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez.

Then, we caught some d.j.’s playing electronic music nearby, and then a couple of songs from The Family Rain at the Big Top.

english "trova"

english “trova”

Soon, we were ready for our big move toward the Main Stage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Friends and me at this glorious day

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.4 – Saturday: A Primer In Cross-cultural Understanding

This is the fourth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part and THIRD part.

The next day, Saturday, we got to the Festival once again, now knowing exactly where everything was, and with some exciting bands to see on the Main Stage.  Always knowing that soon, we were to have the luxury of seeing The Who headlining and finishing the night.

The Corrs from far away

So once we arrived there, we headed directly to the Main Stage. The Corrs were in the middle of their set, and as we wanted to be, this time, as close as possible to the stage, we started making our way around the people, walking slowly to the front. It was already full of people, but I was surprised at how easy was to walk to the front. No pushing, no rushing; people were just chilling and relaxed, even with all these famous acts on stage.

The crowd in Europe is so different from the ones in South America: in Chile, people get desperate to see their favorite artists, and start rushing and pushing towards the front of the stage. It’s almost a suicide to be in the front, at the gates. You see, we in South America usually

The Corrs closer

have one chance every 5 or 6 years to see our favorite artist doing a tour. Sometimes more; but other times, they do just one concert and never come back. In the past, here in Chile, we would be in pain, seeing how artists toured only to Argentina and Brazil, skipping our country.

These days, that doesn’t happen that much, and most South American tours include Chile, too. But if you analyze the facts, you can understand why people get so crazy and desperate in concerts. And that’s why the USA and European artists remark so often that the audiences in South America are “crazy”.

We are crazy because we always think this is gonna be our “only chance in life”, or the “last opportunity in a lifetime.” Hell, I waited from 1993 to 2008 to see Brian May and Roger Taylor live for the first time! No solo shows around here, folks!

So, on this day of the festival, I had my first cultural shock. The audience is calm! They don’t push to take your place! They are actually respectful!

The Corrs Isle Of Wight 2016 (2)

The Corrs from the barrier

So I was amazed when we got to the barrier, and people were not killing each other.

 

We got to the barrier just in front of the left big screen. I looked toward the stage, and The Corrs were performing just a few feet from me! It was totally unreal! I had seen this band’s videos so many times in the ‘90s (I never was a fan of theirs, though), I could recognize all their faces, and they were just there, performing in front of a relaxed audience, and in front of my eyes for real. What a shock!

When they finished performing, we started trying to move to the center of the barrier to be truly in front of the stage. If people were so respectful, it was only fair that we did the same. We started slowly walking to the center, and between each act, we could get a little closer. By the time The Who performed, we were in the center, front row. It was wonderful!

The Kills Stage

The Kills Stage

But before that, we got to see The Kills, who, once again, I’ve never heard before. It was good rock music, with a very charismatic girl singing in front of the band.

After that came Iggy Pop. By that time, we were at the barrier, almost in the center. I was still amazed about the people not pushing us! I was so curious about seeing Iggy Pop. He is a rock icon, and I was thrilled to be in the center  first row to see his show. When he appeared on stage, I felt, once again, chills at seeing somebody so important to the world of rock music just a few feet in front of me. And I enjoyed every moment of it!

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

I remember that my first impression was that his body was so weird! He was in good shape, looks like a young guy, but you can see, in his body, marks of his age. And then you realize that he is almost 70 years old and I could do nothing more than be impressed and applaud him for still having such energy.

 

Iggy On Stage

Iggy On Stage

One funny thing that happened, is that I constantly saw how the cameras were moving, and how the photographers were taking pictures, all during the evening, of the acts and also the audience. As I was in the front row, I was expecting to see myself in pictures, but I was more hoping to see myself during Queen + Adam Lambert.

 

But that didn’t happen. Once I returned to Chile, I started checking the official Youtube videos, and I saw a video of the Iggy Pop song I Wanna Be Your Dog. On that video, I was lucky enough to appear two times in the audience, and not look ridiculous (at least I think that). At one point during that song, Iggy got down from the stage and walked into the audience. He walked in front of me, and all I wanted was to shake his hand. That didn’t happen, but I did get to see him as close as I’ll ever be (from 3:04 on the video below). I was surprised and the most happy I can be! You can see me on the video trying to shake his hand and with the happiest face I have ever had. That’s my 100% joy face! And I’m so glad I got to have that registered on video. Thank you, Iggy Pop!!

 

 

 

After Iggy Pop, it was the time for the ex-The Verve singer Richard Ashcroft. He did a set with his old The Verve and also his solo songs.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

Even though I know he is important to a lot of people, back in the 90’s, I used to find The Verve utterly boring, and I didn’t come out of this performance having a different impression. Although, the sing-along during Bitter Sweet Symphony was very fun, and people were really into it.

Finally, it was the time for The Who, the big headliners of this day, and once again, it was completely impressive to see them as close as I did! They had these great visuals, and some very touching moments, especially with a medley of songs from the Tommy album. Both Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend looked very happy and relaxed to be playing there. “It’s good to be back in the UK!” said Peter Townshend at some point. How many opportunities could I  get to see such a big band performing in their own home?? Not many, probably.

 

 

Stay Tune for The last article about The Isle Of Wight Festival 2016!

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.2 – Thursday

THE FESTIVAL

This is the follow up article about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read the first part HERE

Now I’m gonna talk about the 2016 version of the Isle Of Wight Festival, as me and my friends lived it. I don’t pretend to be writing a full review of it, because I’m not a journalist, and I didn’t see all of the acts, anyway. So I’m just gonna write here about my experience and how it all felt to me.

IOW festival 2016 poster

Isle Of Wight Festival Official Poster

The festival ran from June 9th to 11th, Thursday to Sunday. Our wristbands were good for the four days, so even if I didn’t know many of the acts, and we were there for Queen + Adam Lambert (who were performing closing the festival on Sunday night) I encouraged my friends to go, at least, for a while to the four days. Because as I said before, this was my first time ever out of Chile, and my first time being at an authentic European festival.

The festival was held in Seaclose, a big park in the city of Newport. As I said before, we were staying in an area of the island called Seaview, which, according to Google Maps, was about a half hour from Newport.

So, on Thursday, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and my friend’s husband dropped us at the entrance after a 45 minutes drive (It took us forever to get there due to the confusing roads and the non helpful signs).

Once we finally got there. I found that the whole place was beautiful. At the entrance, there was this huge space for campers, and after a 10 minute walk inside the park, we got to the festival area, which was filled with clothing stores and souvenirs. It was also like a big carnival featuring

once again: not my entrance....... yet

once again: not my entrance……. yet

some scary games which I didn’t ride cause I’m a chicken. There were countless attractions and many small stages which were starting to fill the air with music. But the principal area was the one where you could go to the 2 main stages: the Big Top, and the Main Stage (what a clever name!). Those were the 2 principal stages where the best known bands were about to perform during the 4 days of festival. The Big Top was like the younger brother of the Main Stage. It looked like a huge circus tent, and some well known bands were scheduled to perform there, like Status Quo. But it wasn’t really made to hold the majority of the festival audience.

The other part the Main Stage was a huge stage, located in a big open area of the park. That was the real deal: the stage where you would see these big acts performing one after another, and it was made to be seen from very far away. Artists like The Who, Iggy Pop and Queen + Adam Lambert were scheduled to perform there.

On Thursday, the first day, there weren’t artists scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, but the Big Top was open and receiving their first bands and audience.

I was interested in checking out a band called The Sex Pissed Dolls, which caught my attention several weeks before arriving at the festival. They are an all-girl punk band, with very young girls performing in it. I checked out some of their youtube videos while I was still in Chile, and decided that I wanted to see them live. Also, I must say, they are all very gorgeous, and I couldn’t help being attracted by that too (shame on me!).

In the festival publicity, they were featured as just “The Dolls”. So, that was a bit confusing.

We got to the Big Top just a couple of minutes before they started to perform. There weren’t many people there, so my friends and I quickly got to the front.

And so, my first experience ever in an European festival was seeing The Sex Pissed Dolls at the Isle Of Wight Festival.

They played a tribute set of punk songs, and they were impressive to me. A very promising start for what would be this experience to me. As I was in the front, I could also see that they were being filmed by professional cameras. Those images were being broadcasted live on two big screens on both sides of the stage. It was so much fun to see the girls giving it all for the audience, but also playing and making sexy moves for the cameras. I really wish I could find this performance on Youtube to see them again, because I enjoyed it so much. Thank you girls for giving me a really great start to the festival experience!

the dolls

After that performance, we had to go out of the Big Top because the volume of the PA was too loud and we were standing just in front of one of them. As a musician myself, I must take care of my hearing; even if I was having so much fun listening to The Dolls at a very high volume, at times it was too darn loud! (spot the two Back To The Future reference I’ve made so far!)

After watching that show, as it was our orientation day, we got ourselves a beer and some food, and wandered around the stores and some of the small stages, and I got some memorabilia. As the park was so big, it was actually a long walk getting from one place to another. So we quickly found out that it was impossible to really see most of the festival acts, unless we could clone ourselves. This was like a big Disneyland to me and the day passed too fast!

Join me next time where I’m gonna keep revisiting my experience in the Isle Of Wight Festival 2016